Benefits of Low Maintenance Gardens
- Posted by Mr Goddard
- On March 27, 2022
- 0 Comments
Garden maintenance doesn’t have to be another thing to add to that never ending list of chores around the home. Your time can be better spent doing the things you’d rather be doing than having to do. When considering changes to existing or additions to brand-new gardens, there are many choices to make in the design stage for low maintenance and drought tolerance without compromising how you’d like to use your garden.
Plant selection is determined by the rule ‘the right plant for the right location,’ with each plant chosen to suit its growing conditions to ensure long term health and remove the need for un-necessary pruning. With a wide variety to choose from, hardy Australian native plants are naturally suited to our warm and dry climate.
Best of all, low maintenance gardens can suit those on a limited budget. Of course, it’s ok if you want a deck, pergola, pool, retaining walls and paved paths in your garden but the costs can add up significantly. As an alternative, consider using low-cost materials like mulch and gravel to define areas and adding features like rockeries which require little or no maintenance. A plant-based garden using these materials also aids in keeping the space around your home much cooler and can reduce energy costs.
Using an automated system is an efficient and affordable way to set and forget a watering schedule. Watering amounts and frequency are usually determined by the water holding capacity of the soil (sand is well draining, clay retains moisture longer) with control release drippers supplying the exact amount of water required to suit the needs of each plant.
Topping up the mulch in autumn and spring provides a greater chance of plants coping with the extremes of winter and summer. Mulch reduces evaporation meaning less watering is required and it helps to maintain an even soil temperature, feeds the soil as it breaks down, reduces erosion and works as a weed mat.
Realistically, there’s no such thing as maintenance free. Plants at some point need pruning for health reasons, for thicker or new growth or to encourage next seasons flowers. Trees shed their leaves with some deciduous plants losing their leaves over a 4 – 6-week period and evergreens shedding leaves 365 days per year. If a client requests low maintenance to be a consideration for their new garden, it’s important to know what low maintenance means to them because some people enjoy tasks like mowing the lawn or hedging and shaping shrubs. At Mr Goddard Landscape Design, a low maintenance garden is custom designed for each person with the following considerations in mind.
At certain times of the year, lawns require weekly management to keep them looking their best. Over their lifetime, they’ll also require fertilising, removal of invasive weeds, coring, scarifying and top dressing to maintain health. You may be happy to outsource this to the local lawn mowing round, but doing this may just bring in weed seeds from their previous job. This only creates unnecessary contamination of your own garden.
Watering is also quite excessive compared to garden beds full of drought tolerant plants. Lawns require a weekly deep soak equivalent to 25mm of rain in warmer months to encourage deeper root growth. This could run into thousands of litres per watering each week.
Hedges or pruning
If you’re really wanting a fantastic looking hedge, these should be pruned every 4-12 weeks to create and maintain a tight weave of leaves. Regular maintenance also ensures the many tightly woven hedge plants remain healthy so the uniformity can be maintained. If one plant were to die, the gap would take a long time to refill.
Concrete or Fake Lawn Areas
Open spaces of concrete and artificial grass lawn are magnets for leaves and debris, especially if there are large trees around your property. In windy conditions leaves and sticks are blown everywhere and become very noticeable in these otherwise empty spaces. A plant-based garden can hide accumulated leaves more naturally. As an aside, these open areas can become very warm in summer adding to your utility costs.